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Legal and Political Theory WG: Public Reason in Collective Decision-Making

Dates:
  • Thu 03 Dec 2020 15.00 - 16.30
  Add to Calendar 2020-12-03 15:00 2020-12-03 16:30 Europe/Paris Legal and Political Theory WG: Public Reason in Collective Decision-Making

Please sign up for the event by sending an email to [email protected] by Tuesday 1 December.

We will distribute the paper and Zoom invitation after registration. 

  

Abstract 

Public reason liberalism demands that political decisions be publicly justified to the citizens who are subjected to them. Much of the recent literature on the theory emphasises the differences between the two main interpretations of this requirement, the so-called consensus and convergence views. In the following, I show that both views share a structural weakness. They fail to guarantee that citizens can hold their governments accountable. This is so because both views allow that political decisions can be made by reaching incompletely theorised agreements. This article makes three main interventions. First, it explains how political decisions that are made with incompletely theorised agreements are impossible to hold governments to account for. Second, it demonstrates how this entails that we must choose between committing to the standard interpretations of public reason liberalism and upholding the opportunity for democratic accountability. Third, it explains how this, in turn, implies that only the consensus view can be salvaged – modifying the convergence view in the necessary way will inevitably open the door to an objectionable form of perfectionism. The consensus view, on the other hand, can incorporate a requirement that there is agreement on the justificatory reasons for political decisions. 

Outside EUI premises - DD/MM/YYYY
  Outside EUI premises -

Please sign up for the event by sending an email to [email protected] by Tuesday 1 December.

We will distribute the paper and Zoom invitation after registration. 

  

Abstract 

Public reason liberalism demands that political decisions be publicly justified to the citizens who are subjected to them. Much of the recent literature on the theory emphasises the differences between the two main interpretations of this requirement, the so-called consensus and convergence views. In the following, I show that both views share a structural weakness. They fail to guarantee that citizens can hold their governments accountable. This is so because both views allow that political decisions can be made by reaching incompletely theorised agreements. This article makes three main interventions. First, it explains how political decisions that are made with incompletely theorised agreements are impossible to hold governments to account for. Second, it demonstrates how this entails that we must choose between committing to the standard interpretations of public reason liberalism and upholding the opportunity for democratic accountability. Third, it explains how this, in turn, implies that only the consensus view can be salvaged – modifying the convergence view in the necessary way will inevitably open the door to an objectionable form of perfectionism. The consensus view, on the other hand, can incorporate a requirement that there is agreement on the justificatory reasons for political decisions. 


Location:
Outside EUI premises -

Affiliation:
Department of Law

Type:
Working group

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